Does an officer have a right to "stop" a vehicle when they are called to a scene where no crime is being committed?

Asked over 1 year ago - Richmond, VA

I was parked on the side of the street in a residential neighborhood and fell asleep at the wheel while the engine was running. Apparently a resident alerted the police to the situation, and they arrived and woke me up. They suspected I had been drinking and asked to do a preliminary breathalyzer, which I refused per my rights. Then the officer asked me to do the FST's and I did out of fear that they would haul me in if I didn't. They didn't satisfy the officer. I had surgery for an ACL tear the year before and have had balance issues, so it may have hindered my performance. So did the officer even have probable cause to "stop" me when he was called to a scene where a crime wasn't being committed? I wasn't charged with anything other than a DWI. No illegal parking, nothing.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Pierre Priale

    Contributor Level 6

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Officer was exercising his "community caretaker" to make sure you were ok and see why you were passed out in your vehicle. After he smells odor of alcohol he has probable cause to investigate if you are "operating" your vehicle under the influence alcohol. You will need to consult an attorney to explore any defenses you may have as well as your options.

  2. John M. Kaman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The officer didn't stop you as you were already stopped. Sleeping in your car with the engine running is enough to give him reasonable suspicion to investigate. After he determined that you were drinking or had been drinking he had a right to do his routine.

    A year old ACL tear will get you a job in the NFL; I wouldn't count on that as a defense to not being able to balance.

  3. Judy A. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your attempts at wiggling out of this are very feeble,. The officer had every right to "stop" you and conduct a FST. Your year old ACL surgery is not much of a defense. Hire a lawyer. You will not do well trying this case on your own.

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